We’ve got five epic ways to experience Québec’s foodie heaven (though don’t blame us if you go home a few kilos heavier).
Québec is Canada’s second-largest province and presents an inspiring mix of old-world charm in Québec, versus cosmopolitan Montréal. Less than 200km apart, both deliver when it comes to taste bud titillation and fancy feasts, thanks, in part, to a heavy influence by the French and Irish.
Whether you’re in Québec City, Montreal or in-between, you’ll find the locals’ love affair with their traditional cuisine widespread. Back in the day, hearty meals were needed for the fur traders and while the province has moved on career-wise, their commitment to their soul food lives on.
If we’re ‘poutine’ it out there (we’re so punny), Québec’s most famous dish has to be poutine. It’s a ‘taste-it-to-believe-it’ dish of French fries, gravy, and cheese curds, and is perfect at any time of the day. Montréal is the undisputed poutine capital with Poutineville offering the most variety. In Québec City, our pick is Frite Alors.
Also, don’t miss out on the traditional tourtiere, a meat pie with lashings of ketchup, or pâté chinois (aka Shepherd’s pie). Home-cooked is still considered the best for the latter but short of befriending a local, try Montréal’s Restaurant Mache or Québec City’s La Buche.
Québec produces 72% of maple syrup so it’s practically tourism sin to not indulge. If it’s spring, start off at a sugar shack where maple tree sap is boiled. You can find all kinds of Québécois foods on a sugar shack menu but save room for tire su la neige if you spot it on a menu. Hot maple syrup is poured onto snow to create bendy taffy that is best eaten in haste. Oh well, if we must.
For other sugary treats, pouding chômeur is a sponge cake doused in maple syrup. Alternatively, the maple-soaked grand-pères are delectable sweet-treat dumplings that we can’t get enough of.
BEVVY OF BEVERAGES
When consuming authentic Québécois food, it makes sense that you continue your as-the-locals-do efforts with booze too.
Québec rules the craft beer scene by brewing 46 of Canada’s top 100 beers! If you prefer a stronger tipple, ice cider is an apple wine made from fermented frozen apples. Stronger still? Go all-in with coureur de bois, a liqueur made from – you guessed it – maple syrup. As the original toddy for fur traders, it doesn’t get more Québecker than that.
FEAST YOUR EYES ON THIS
Forget getting lured into those ‘totally French’ looking tourism restaurants, we’ve got the ‘totally eye candy’ hotspots: top restaurants with killer views. In Montréal, Portus 360 pairs your fusion feast with sweeping views of the city; in Québec City, Le Champlain offers spectacular service and waterside views. Book ahead for both.
Short on time? Hack the Québec culinary matrix with a food tour. Local Food Tours combines tidbits of history with tidbits of food, with excursions in both Montréal and QC.
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